Monday, January 21, 2013

The House at Riverton

The House at RivertonThe House at Riverton by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is exactly the kind of book that I love: gothic historical fiction. So many great books - Keeping The House, The Debutante, Water For Elephants - have followed this format and I loved them. Maybe it was because I read this one so closely to The Debutante (which I absolutely ADORED) that I instantly bonded with this book. It was only life (and simultaneously reading a Diana Gabaldon door stopper) that prevented me from reading this book quickly.

So... about the book... A great, tragic plot line. One of those where 80% of the main characters die during the story. Characterization was a little flat, but still worthy characters. The writing was a little bogged down by lengthy (and occasionally pointless) dialogue, but not poorly written. Overall I did feel that the book could have used a little less setup to get into real story and about two less subplots.

I have another book by this author on my shelf and I definitely look forward to reading it.

Synopsis: Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline.

In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the House, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline, and only they—and Grace—know the truth.

The novel opens in 1999 when Grace is ninety-eight years old, living out her last days in a nursing home. She is visited by a young director who is making a film bout the events of that summer in 1924. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth suring the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant 1920s and of the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.
The novel is full of secrets—some revealed, others hidden forever.

Recommended Reading:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

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